If you’re facing menopause as a result of a surgical procedure, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, approximately 36,000 women under the age of 45 undergo total hysterectomies each year, causing them to enter into “surgical menopause.”
Unlike natural menopause – even early menopause – which is gradual, surgical menopause results in a sudden (and permanent) drop in estrogen and androgens, which can often contribute to extremely severe menopausal symptoms. Those symptoms include hot flashes, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, depression, migraine headaches, vaginal dryness and cardiovascular symptoms. Many women have reported hot flashes so severe, their ability to function as they should was significantly affected.
While lifestyle changes can assist many women experiencing these symptoms, most will require hormone therapy, which can also protect you from an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. In addition to estrogen/progesterone therapy, testosterone therapy may also be needed if you have very little energy, are extremely tired and experiencing a loss of sexual desire. Surgical menopause significantly reduces your body’s production of androgens, which can severely affect your sexual drive and function. Also, the drop in estrogen may result in vaginal changes, such as dryness, which can make intercourse quite painful and uncomfortable.
If you feel that you would benefit from testosterone therapy, discuss this option with your health care provider. Typically, testosterone is dispensed in the form of pills, patches, creams and gels. There is also an estrogen/testosterone product available for women, which researchers believe is extremely beneficial for treating sexual dysfunction.
To reduce the risks of heart disease and osteoporosis, be sure to live a lifestyle that is “heart healthy.” In other words, try your best to maintain a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Also, get in the habit of exercising regularly, including both cardiovascular and weight training as part of your workout. It’s a good idea to exercise for approximately 60 minutes, at least three days per week. A healthy lifestyle will ensure that you’ll remain young, healthy, energetic and happy.